A recent study published by an audiologist, Mr. Phil Cornwell, found that the average sound level in Dublin’s pubs is 92 decibels, this is more than safe level of 85 decibels. This is a noise level similar standing next to a truck in traffic. Commenting today on the results of this study, Liam Moloney, personal injury lawyer said, “Bar workers need to be aware of the dangers of permanent hearing damage if they are being exposed to these levels of noise. Acoustic shock is an adverse response to an acoustic incident which results in an alteration of a person’s auditory function. Symptoms can include pain around the ear, muffled hearing, feeling light headed, lethargic and being dizzy. It can also lead to depression.”
The research was carried out by hidden hearing which provides for hearing health care for people suffering from hearing loss. Researchers visited 20 pubs throughout Dublin city centre and discovered that every one of them was dangerous to staff and patrons.
Mr. Moloney said, “It was inevitable that personal injury claims would be taken by bar workers exposed continuously to these levels of noise.” He added, “A new EC directive implemented new regulations dealing with acceptable levels of noise exposure for employees. They provide that a daily exposure of 80 decibels over an 8 hour working day period which, if exceeded requires action to be taken. It has been well known for a long time that acoustic shock is a known risk of injury. Employers should take all appropriate steps to reduce these levels or they will face hearing loss claims similar to those taken against the state by army personnel.”
Exposure to loud noise in excess of 85 decibels for over 60 minutes at a time can lead to irreparable hearing damage. Employers in Ireland have a duty of care to prevent employees from suffering hearing injuries.